Nightly News   |  September 30, 2011

BofA only the latest to charge debit card fee

Bank of America said its monthly $5 debit card fee begins early next year. Other banks are also testing or have already imposed similar debit card fees, but Citi Bank said it would not. NBC’s Lisa Myers has more.

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>>> there was a lot of anger today about the announcement from bank of america that it will start charging customers $5 every month they use debit cards to buy things. as lisa myers tells us, add it to the growing list of fees.

>> reporter: the prospect of paying $5 any month you buy something with your debit card did not sit well with some bank of america customers.

>> they are making money off my money. so for them to then charge me for something a debit card is ridiculous.

>> if the bank chooses to do that then i will pull my accounts and go to another bank.

>> five times 12, you could have paid a bill with that.

>> reporter: bank of america says the new fee begins early next year, but won't say how many of the 58 million customers will be impacted. other banks also are testing or have already imposed similar debit card fees. only citi has said it will not. the industry says angry consumers should blame congress which reduced how much banks collect from retailers in so-called swipe fees on debit cards . banks say legislation in the last two years on swipe fees and cracking down on credit card and overdraft practices is costing banks $15 billion a year in revenue.

>> we are losing revenue. we have to make up the revenue somewhere to stay in business. unfortunately it's the consumers that's going to hurt.

>> reporter: a survey found free checking is disappearing. only 45% of accounts now offered are free. overall, fees just keep going up. as much as $25 a month for a checking account . $4 on average to use an out of network atm. and sometimes $2 more to check your account balance . for families on a tight balance, it adds up.

>> it's disheartening to see one more fee being added on top. how much can consumers really bear?

>> reporter: financial experts say smart consumers can minimize or avoid many fees. they say when it comes to debit cards , consider an old-fashioned solution. just pay cash. lisa myers , nbc news, washington.